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Kimchi: A Fermented Superfood With Ancient Roots

Kimchi is widely known for its tasty, tangy flavour and spice, and it’s becoming more and more popular as a side dish. But kimchi is so much more than a nice addition to your meal. It comes equipped with a rich history and some amazing health benefits, which should catapult it to a major part of most people’s diets.

Let’s break it down for you.

The Dawn of Kimchi

Kimchi is still a Korean dish first and foremost, which is fitting because it was invented in Korea. However, ancient kimchi doesn’t look too similar to modern kimchi, both with regard to how it was made, what went in it, and how it tasted.

Fermentation was a common way for people to preserve food around the world, and Korea was no exception. It became especially popular when Buddhism and vegetarianism became common in Korea over 2000 years ago.

Early kimchi consisted of all kinds of different vegetables, including radishes and cucumbers. It was made during the winter, as the ground was cool and could preserve food better. Korean women would ferment the vegetables, and then put them in ceramic pots called onggi. These pots were buried and kept safe until the kimchi was needed.

The Evolution of Kimchi

As mentioned before, kimchi tasted very different from its modern counterparts. For example, chilies weren’t found in Korea until the 17th century, when traders brought the peppers over from America. 

Even though some people did use chilli peppers in Kimchi at this time, the practice only became common in the 19th century. This was also around the time when napa cabbage was introduced to Korea and became more commonly used as the primary vegetable.

While kimchi has always been a dish made at home, it did become more commercialised during the 20th century, when industrial production became more common. Today, companies like Gutsy Ferments specialise in creating traditional and modern versions of kimchi, allowing people worldwide to enjoy this Korean delicacy. 

Kimchi as a Superfood

When you look into what kimchi is, it’s not a surprise that it’s so good for you. Its primary ingredients are vegetables, which are packed with nutrients. Not only that, but the fermented nature of kimchi means that it contains probiotics to boost your digestive system and your immune system.

Kimchi may also have other potential health benefits, as it has been found to reduce inflammation, prevent and help yeast infections, facilitate weight loss, and even support heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Eating Kimchi

Kimchi is incredibly flavourful, as it's salty, spicy, and has that unique tang of fermented food that we love so much. It’s also very versatile as a dish.

The simplest way to eat kimchi is just with rice, as it has enough flavour to make a tasty meal on its own. However, you can also serve it in sandwiches, with stir fry, or even add it to a grilled cheese or whatever else you like. The only limit is your own imagination.

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